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Earlier this month, British General Timothy Radford, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe Designate, visited the USA to speak as part of the annual Transatlantic Kermit Roosevelt Lecture. The lecture series began in 1947 as a tribute to Kermit Roosevelt, the son of former US President Theodore Roosevelt. Kermit served in both the US and UK Armies during the First and Second World War, and the annual lecture offers a chance for the continued fostering of Anglo-American military co-operation.
During his lecture at West Point, General Radford told cadets, faculty and staff at the facility that the Special Relationship between the US and UK can be traced back to 1859, when American soldiers supported British troops in the Second Opium War. He went on to explain that the partnership was solidified during the First and Second World Wars, and that the creation of NATO helped to cement the relationship. He also said that the Special Relationship has been revived in recent years through shared sacrifice in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Radford said that "These isolated examples of military cooperation are actually part of a much broader network of connections over and above the very obvious ancestral, kinship and language links that we share and the largely positive culture invasions that we've inflicted upon each other ... I think it's fair to say that the lifeblood of the relationship grows from our common values and collective desires to preserve peace and security across the globe."
Speaking particularly to the cadets and their future experiences in the military, Radford said "I really hope you build and then invest in your own transatlantic relationships and you enjoy the same levels of professional satisfaction and friendships we have had ... After all, interoperability is built above all else upon relationships and mutual understanding."
Radford added that "I would urge you to reflect on whether you think this very well-established relationship that has been 70 years in the making is still worth continued investment ... I would personally contend that the relationship between such trusted allies as the United Kingdom and the United States is just as important now as it was back in 1942 between Churchill and Roosevelt. Albeit in a rather different context."
As part of the annual lecture, an American Army General also visits the UK to speak to British Troops about the Special Relationship from a US perspective. Last year, General Michael Garrett, Commanding General, US Army Forces Command, spoke at multiple locations across the UK in May 2019.
You can watch the 2020 Kermit Roosevelt Lecture in the US by going to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI334tbebbo